LOS GATOS, CA — June 5, 2018 — Members of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) have approved the ‘Manuscript Exchange Common Approach’ (MECA) – a major new academic publishing initiative co-led by HighWire Founding Director John Sack. The project will see the industry’s leading technology providers work together on a more standardized approach to the transfer of manuscripts between and among manuscript systems, such as those in use at publishers and preprint servers.
The outdated, time-intensive way authors currently submit and re-submit manuscripts to different publishers is quietly a major productivity killer for researchers globally. It is estimated that a staggering 15 million hours of researcher time is consumed each year, . But the problem, described by one expert as ‘’, could be solved if journals and publishers were able to transfer manuscripts between publications using different submission-tracking systems.
Goals and collaboration
The MECA project will work towards a number of key goals, in order to address the issue:
- Vocabulary: providing a standard nomenclature
- Packaging: a simple, flexible, standard way to assemble files
- Tagging: being able to pass submission information from system to system
- Peer review: being able to pass review information from system to system
- Transfer: enabling the transfer of information from system to system
- Identity: a unique, consistent identity across systems
- Transmission: a simple, consistent way to send the information across systems
John Sack, Founding Director at HighWire, has co-led the initiative alongside other leading technology providers. He explains: “While much of the recent industry conversation has focused on opening up , we still have work to do on streamlining how that insight is published in the first place. Too much time is wasted on the manuscript transfer and submission processes – so it’s great to be working alongside other systems providers on a solution that will benefit everyone in the industry.”
MECA in action
Momentum has gathered pace since the project was first presented by John at the 2017 SSP Annual Meeting, with the first use case for the project now live.
In addition to HighWire and eJP, MECA’s leading participants are Aries, Clarivate, and PLOS. The collaboration between HighWire and eJournalPress enables MECA for a new life sciences journal so that manuscripts and reviews could flow to – and from – other journals in a standardized way. The implementation entered into production earlier this year, and is now completed – meaning that manuscripts and reviews now flow smoothly via MECA, with the only author intervention being to agree to the transfer.
This first, fully-operational implementation will now serve as the base for documentation and elaboration through the NISO review and approval process.
You can find out more about HighWire’s manuscript submission and tracking service, BenchPress, here
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HighWire is the technology partner of choice for world-leading commercial and scholarly publishers. With offices globally, HighWire provides digital publishing solutions and platform expertise across all aspects of the publishing life cycle, including content management and hosting, e-commerce, analytics, access and identity management, manuscript submission and tracking. HighWire also delivers strategic consulting services for developing systems and applications and improving the customer experience.
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NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website.
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